TERRE HAUTE -- There's little doubt that Northview senior Brylie Riddell will remember the win that gave her 100 in her career with the Knights.
Riddell and her Northview teammates battled long and hard against rival Terre Haute South before gaining a 25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 18-25, 15-12 victory on the Braves' home court.
"This was an absolutely thrilling match for everybody in that gym," Northview coach Scott McDonald said. "We really battled throughout the match with tremendous swings of momentum and emotion."
Any time the two schools have matched up over the last several years, it has typically been a classic match in an intense environment. Tuesday evening was no exception as the Knights claimed the opening set before the Braves rallied, down 18-17 in the second set, to even the match. Ashley Bazier and Brittney Pink combined for a pair of blocks to put the Braves on top in tying the match at one set apiece.
Momentum swung back to the Knights in the third game as McKenzi Kumpf's hitting late in the set put Northview ahead to stay. Kumpf, who had 21 kills, and Riddell's 16 kills were pivotal in the Knights' attack. However, Audrey Clark was key on the defensive side against South's big hitters.
"Kenzi and Brylie were amazing all night, and Audrey dug a lot of bombs that they were hitting at us," McDonald said. "We were not as good as we have been in serve receive, which is the problem we had staying consistent in our offense."
Momentum swung back in South's favor in game four with Braves' blocking paving the way. Meaghan Etling and Pink combined for nine blocks in the match and provided South with a 25-18 win to force the deciding fifth game.
Northview opened the final game by pulling out to a 10-4 lead before South rallied to take the next three points, the final one an ace by Riley Davis. The Braves would tie the match at 12-all after the Knights got kills from Mikayla Rowan and Riddell. However, a net violation by South led to Kumpf finishing the match with the deciding kill.
Clark had 21 digs on defense for the Knights as Ashley Heck and Hannah Willocks each had four along with Taylor Hess, who contributed 21 assists. Madison McDonald led the team with 24 assists to go with four kills, three aces, two blocks and eight digs. Shelbi Morris provided nine kills and both Rowan and Morgan Stearley posted four kills.
"We felt that we really grew as a team last night dealing with adversity and showing the mental toughness that it will take down the road," McDonald said. "We will address the areas that were a concern and have to be ready for round three in the tournament. Now our focus has to shift to getting ready for Brown County."
The victory improves Northview's record to 15-4 overall as the team looks to remain unbeaten in the WIC (3-0) against a 12-3 Brown County squad at home Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.
At T.H. South
Next match: Northview (15-4 overall, 3-0 WIC) hosts Brown County on Tuesday at 6 p.m.